Hospitals Join to Fight Edward's Heart Center

By Stevens, Susan | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 24, 1999 | Go to article overview
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Hospitals Join to Fight Edward's Heart Center

Stevens, Susan, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)

Byline: Susan Stevens Daily Herald Staff Writer

Edward Hospital's plan to build a $92.3 million facility devoted to heart disease has drawn the ire of surrounding hospitals.

Seven hospitals formed a group called the Alliance for Governmental Action and hired a public relations firm to fight the proposed Naperville heart hospital, which they fear will gut their own cardiac programs.

The group is expected to voice its opposition at a public hearing at 10 a.m. today in the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St. The hearing is being held by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which still must approve Edward's plans.

In Illinois, hospitals must obtain a Certificate of Need for projects from the IHFPB, which strives to ensure hospitals don't duplicate services.

Edward wants to build a 71-bed facility devoted to cardiac disease. Officials project the heart hospital eventually would perform 800 bypass operations a year.

The heart hospital would be the first of its kind in Illinois and one of only a handful in the nation.

Under the proposal, Edward would team with local physicians as joint-owners in the for-profit hospital, which would operate independently from Edward's non-profit facilities.

The other hospitals claim Edward's heart hospital would wreak havoc on their facilities. They say DuPage County hospitals already have excess beds.

"In order for them to be viable with the number of cases they need, they're going to have to take cases away from other hospitals," said Mary Sheahan, president of Provena Mercy Center in Aurora, one of seven hospitals in the alliance.

The alliance also includes Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Hinsdale and LaGrange Memorial Hospitals, Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood and Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.

Since cardiac care generates some of the highest profits for hospitals, the loss of those patients means big losses in the bottom line and could hurt hospitals' ability to offer less profitable programs and charitable care to poor patients, Sheahan said.

At Central DuPage Hospital, administrators estimate they could lose 25 percent to 50 percent of their heart patients, meaning a loss of between $15 million and $30 million a year, according to President Dave Fox.

If other hospitals lose their cardiac programs to Edward, Fox said, patients would suffer because they might have to travel farther for medical care in the crucial hour after a heart attack.

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